Why is the topic relevant? Speaker of the House Markéta Pekarová Adamová plans to visit Taiwan at the end of the month. She will be accompanied by a hundred Czech businessmen. This will be the largest mission in bilateral relations so far. Within the EU, the Czech Republic is one of the strongest advocates of closer ties with Taiwan. This trip is therefore also a great opportunity to strengthen trade relations.
Why is this important for the Czech Republic? Taiwan is in many respects a more important trading partner of the Czech Republic than China. In 2017, Beijing reported direct investment in the Czech manufacturing industry of around CZK 410 million. At that time, Taiwan had CZK 5.69 billion invested in our manufacturing industry, almost 14 times more. According to data from CzechInvest, the Taiwanese investment in the Czech Republic gave jobs to 23,000 people, while the Chinese investment gave jobs to only 4,000. Czech exports to Taiwan have been steadily increasing, with CZK 6.1 billion worth of goods exported in 2020. Taiwan has also set up the Central and Eastern Europe Investment Fund (CEE Fund) with $200 million. The state-run fund will focus on the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania. The fund is intended primarily for equity investments. Intensifying cooperation with Taiwan could bring the Czech Republic know-how and experience for the development of the semiconductor industry, which is now clearly strategic for the whole of Europe – Taiwan is a world leader in the production of semiconductor technologies. In October 2021, during a trade mission, representatives of the Czech Republic and Taiwan signed five new memoranda of understanding to expand cooperation in the fields of internet security, aerospace, catalyst technology development and precision engineering. The Czech-Taiwan Chamber of Commerce, a strong group of successful companies and organisations across various sectors, is a very active player in the relationship.
How should the government proceed? The Czech government should therefore develop a concrete multi-year plan for economic cooperation with Taiwan so that our extremely warm political relations also have a long-term economic overlap. This economic strategy would then serve to ensure that the Czech economy benefits as much as possible from these ties.